A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is needed to become a professional truck or bus driver. If you are excited to start your new career quickly, you’re probably wondering: How long does it take to get your CDL, and is there any way to make it go by more quickly?
The truth is that CDL training length depends on quite a few factors. There is no specific answer to how long the training will take because each person will have a different situation to deal with, which can make the licensing process longer or shorter than average. Here are the factors you should consider to understand how long it could take you to get your CDL.
CDL Classifications and Endorsements
There are several types of CDLs. Even though we call all of these licenses a CDL, it doesn’t mean every CDL is created equal. There are three classifications to choose between that will determine how much weight your truck will be allowed to carry – and how hazardous that material is. For example, if your goal is to become a city bus driver, you’ll only need to go for a lower classification compared to someone who wants to drive construction equipment.
These classifications are class A, class B, and class C, and depending on which one you aim for, it can change how long the process takes.
Additionally, there are special endorsements you can get. While you don’t need an endorsement to get your CDL and a job, having one will open more doors. You can get a more specialized career or earn a higher salary. However, endorsements are more challenging to obtain.
Class Length and Schedule Design
If you want to earn a CDL, consider an official training program. Like any school, the length of time depends on your schedule.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you’re going to attend class full-time or part-time. Full-time classes run five days a week for about eight hours a day. Part-time classes are held on the weekends or weekday nights. Depending on how much time you’re able to spend in the classroom, you could end up doubling the time it takes you to earn a CDL. The difference will depend on your lifestyle, how much time you think you’ll need to be in class, and whether or not you have other priorities in your schedules, such as family time or work.
The second thing to consider is what your actual schedule is going to look like. In addition to the varying amount of time you’ll spend in the classroom, you’ll also have to practice driving a truck and other skills. You should schedule accordingly if you want to get through it quickly. It also depends on if you’re able to schedule a CDL test in a timely fashion, as the availability of test times can vary depending on location.
License type, schedules, endorsements, and class lengths aren’t the only things that can change how soon you get your CDL. There are a few other factors to consider as well.
The first is your skill as a driver. It should go without saying that being a truck driver isn’t as simple as driving a regular car, and even driving a regular car can take a decent amount of skill and confidence. Simply put, if you need to spend more time learning to drive a truck, it will take you longer to get your license, even if the rest of the process is streamlined.
The second is what kind of truck you’re driving. Some trucks are automatic, and others are manual, and this changes the way they handle and how you control them. If you’re learning to drive in a way that isn’t as intuitive for you, it will take you longer to perfect your skills enough to take the test.
With these two factors, it’s important to consider your abilities and knowledge before you decide how much time you need to spend behind the wheel. Learning to drive your truck can take many hours – even under ideal circumstances – so there are several factors to consider.
Get Your Class A CDL at STVT
If you’re looking to earn a Class A CDL through hands-on training at a school that understands your specific needs and situation, then maybe you’re looking to earn your CDL training certificate at STVT. Available at our campuses in Brownsville, McAllen, and San Antonio, we’ll help get you on the road as a safe, confident, and well-paid commercial truck driver by teaching you the important skills. Consider enrolling in our program today, or contact us to learn more.